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Kapikian and Szeto Receive Alumni Awards

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At Commencement ceremonies, Weill Medical College presented its Alumni Award of Distinction to Albert Z. Kapikian, who received his M.D. from the Medical College in 1956. Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences presented its Alumni Award of Distinction to Hazel H. Szeto, who received her Ph.D. from the Graduate School in 1977, while also receiving her M.D. from the Medical College the same year.

Albert Kapikian, M.D. (Class of 1956)

Dr. Albert Kapikian, '56 (right), receives the Medical College's Alumni Award of Distinction presented by Dr. Paul Miskovitz, '75, president of the Cornell University Weill Medical College Alumni Association.
Dr. Kapikian, a noted virologist, has been head of the epidemiology section of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1967. He discovered and identified the Norwalk virus in 1972, and, in 1973, with two colleagues, he was the first to visualize and identify the virus that causes hepatitis A. He is best known for developing a rotavirus vaccine (licensed by the FDA in 1998) that will have a major impact on reducing the incidence of extreme abdominal distress and death in children in developing countries. He has received numerous accolades for his 30 years of research into gastroenteritis. In addition to his service at the NIH, he holds a faculty appointment as Research Professor of Child Health and Human Development at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Services.

After graduating from Cornell in 1956, Dr. Kapikian did his internship at Meadowbrook Hospital in Hempstead, N.Y., and medical courses at both Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health and the Medical School at the University of London in England. He has worked at the NIH since 1957, when he became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service; after retiring as a commissioned officer in 1988, he has continued at the NIH in the civil service.

Hazel H. Szeto, Ph.D., M.D. (Class of 1977)

Dr. Hazel Szeto, '77 (right), receives the Graduate School of Medical Sciences' Alumni Award of Distinction presented by Dr. Kathleen Scotto, '83, chairperson of the school's Alumni Committee.


Dr. Szeto, who received her Ph.D. in 1977 with a special concentration in pharmacology, was appointed assistant professor of pharmacology at the Medical College in 1979. While rising through the faculty ranks, she has distinguished herself as a scientist and an educator.

Dr. Szeto is internationally recognized for her contributions to the understanding of fetal development, which have earned her many honors and awards, including, most recently, one of the NIH's highest honors, the NIH Merit Award, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She has served on many advisory and editorial boards, including the editorial board of the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. At the Graduate School and Medical College, she has served on committees that developed curriculum, reviewed policies on ethics, and improved living conditions for students and postdoctoral fellows. She has also been especially active in alumni outreach activities for the Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

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